On May 18, 2021, the County of Los Angeles enacted an emergency ordinance providing paid COVID-19 Vaccine Leave to certain employees who work in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. While the State of California’s new Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (“CA SPSL”) already provides up to eighty (80) hours of paid leave for COVID-19 sick pay, time off for getting vaccinated and any associated recovery, the County’s new leave law provides up to four (4) additional hours of paid leave for employees working in the unincorporated portions of Los Angeles County who have exhausted their CA SPSL.
Additionally, the COVID-19 Vaccine Leave is retroactive to January 1, 2021 and employers are required to post written notice. Here are the highlights:
Effective Dates. COVID-19 Vaccine Leave is effective from January 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021.
Eligible Employees. Employees are eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine Leave if they satisfy both of the following: (1) perform work in the unincorporated areas of the County of Los Angeles; and (2) exhausted available leave under CA SPSL.
Qualifying Reasons. Eligible employees are entitled to the paid leave for the following reasons: (1) to receive a COVID-19 vaccination injection, including time spent traveling to and from a vaccination appointment; and/or (2) to recover from any symptoms related to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine that prevents them from being able to work or telework.
Amount of Leave. Full-time employees receive up to four (4) hours of paid leave per injection. Part-time employees receive a prorated amount of four (4) hours per injection based on their normally scheduled work hours over the two-week period preceding the injection (e.g., if an employee is scheduled to work twenty hours, they are eligible for up to two hours of paid leave per injection).
Rate of Pay. COVID-19 Vaccine Leave is paid at an employee’s normal rate of pay, calculated based on the employee’s highest average two-week pay since January 1, 2021.
Relationship with Employer-Provided Paid Sick Leave. COVID-19 Vaccine Leave is in addition to any paid sick leave policy.
Notice Requirements. Every employer must post a written notice prepared by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (“DCBA”) in a conspicuous place where employees work informing them of their rights to COVID-19 Vaccine Leave. The DCBA has not created the notice yet but pledges that it will be made available on its website soon.
Record Keeping. Employers must keep all payroll records necessary to demonstrate compliance with the Ordinance for a period of four (4) years. Such records must include accurate and complete payroll records pertaining to each eligible employee that document the name, address, occupation, dates of employment, rate or rates of pay, and the amount paid.
No Retaliation. Employers may not retaliate against any person seeking to enforce his or her rights under the COVID-19 Vaccine Leave law.
CBA Exemption. The requirements of the COVID-19 Vaccine Leave law may be waived via clear and unambiguous terms in a collective bargaining agreement.
We will continue to monitor major COVID-19 related developments that impact the workplace. If you have any questions about the matters discussed in this issue of Compliance Matters, please call your firm contact at 818-508-3700 or visit us online at www.brgslaw.com.
Richard S. Rosenberg
Katherine A. Hren
Charles H.W. Foster
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP